According to Amy Signorini, Western Europe Business Developer Manager at Intel, there are numerous climate changes going on at the moment, with an increase in temperatures causing more frequent and intense drought periods and the loss of drinking water. The common opinion of most of the scientific community is that global warming is to be blamed on human causes.
In this context, where water becomes an increasingly important resource, more than 80% of waste water is discharged into the environment without being treated.
This, despite a report by the UN Water Development Authority, demonstrates that improved waste water management has great social, environmental and sustainable economic benefits.
It is therefore important to develop a strategy for the conservation of water that aims to achieve three primary sustainability objectives.
Keep the water used in industrial activities; collaborate on initiatives promoted by local communities; create technological solutions that help reinvent the ways in which we use and store water.
Long-term support for achieving a change in water management
In the era of the connected whole, a strong demand for computer devices was established. However, for the manufacture of electronic equipment a lot of fresh water is needed, which is not always adequately preserved in large companies. In Intel, 90% of the global waste water is recycled, with the target of reaching 100% by 2030.
Over the past 10 years, efforts to conserve water have saved about 140 million cubic metres of water. Enough to feed more than 337,000 American homes for a year.
It is therefore clear that companies can play an important role.
National Parks & Wildlife Service and Intel have launched a peat reclamation project in Ireland. The aim of the two organisations is to increase the conservation of water by millions of litres. It is the first water rehabilitation project funded in Europe to achieve a total net water recycling in the world by 2030.
The concept of positive net water use, i.e. water consumption equal to or less than the amount of water made available, requires the optimisation of consumption and intensive water recycling.
Not an easy task in a sector such as chip production, where waste water is usually very toxic. This public-private collaboration project is one of the first of its kind in Ireland. It will be increasingly important to put initiatives in place with local communities in other countries, in order to achieve similar goals.
Digital technology to the benefit of optimization of the planet’s water resources
Digital solutions also have a role in implementing solutions to save water. In France, for example, Veolia has recently developed for its customers a Hypervision system that allows you to control and manage its water services and energy installations in real time, so as to detect water losses or malfunctions in good time. This allows you to achieve new levels of performance. These technologies can be implemented on different scales and aim to meet the specific needs of a particular city.
Another example is the SafeWaterAfrica project funded by the European Union and aimed at disinfecting, at low cost and in a sustainable way, water for domestic use in rural areas of Africa. The project was a collaboration between partners in the academic and industrial world in Germany, Spain and Italy, who provided knowledge on new water purification technologies, and academic and industrial partners in Mozambique and South Africa, who contributed by providing additional technologies. The objective of water conservation in this project, supported by digital technology, was to develop autonomously a purification technology for the supply and management of drinking water in rural Africa.
Digital has a precise DNA, that of continuous innovation. It is also an integral part of our daily life, all the more so in a context where the use of digital devices is growing. The two great revolutions, digital and environmental, are intimately linked and it is possible, on both sides, to be the protagonists of this change. This is a fascinating theme, because it requires two challenges: on the one hand, to control the environmental impact of digital technology and on the other hand, to use digital technology as a lever for ecological transition.